Rachel Zegler Speaks Out on Nearly “Canceled” ‘Snow White’, Gives Final Update

in Disney, Entertainment

Rachel Zegler and Snow White

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

Disney has been undergoing a lot of drama due to their latest movie, Snow White, which has not even come out yet. Now, West Side Story and Hunger Games actress Rachel Zegler, who will be playing the titular character in the film, has finally spoken out with updates following the strike’s conclusion.

Disney's Snow White looking terrified against a background of green eyes
Credit: Disney

The live action market has been one that Disney has been tackling for quite some time now. Disney has seemingly been set on turning a lot of their movies into live actions, reigniting the nostalgia and flame of some of the older animations. Overall, the idea does make sense. Disney can use a story that they know their audience already likes, and can give their adult audience something to remember in a new way, pulling them back in.

For kids who didn’t grow up with a VHS player and Disney animation releasing many of these stories for the first time, now, they are able to be pulled into the story in a new and contemporary kind of way, through innovative and the latest technology. Below, you can see the list of live action films accomplished by Disney up until this point.

  • Cinderella (2015): Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic stars Lily James as Cinderella.
  • The Jungle Book (2016): Directed by Jon Favreau, this film combines live-action with CGI to bring Rudyard Kipling’s classic stories to life.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): Directed by Bill Condon, this live-action adaptation stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast.
  • Aladdin (2019): Directed by Guy Ritchie, this live-action adaptation features Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Will Smith as the Genie.
  • The Lion King (2019): Directed by Jon Favreau, this film uses cutting-edge CGI technology to present a realistic reimagining of the animated classic.
  • Maleficent (2014) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019): These films, starring Angelina Jolie, provide a different perspective on the Sleeping Beauty tale, focusing on the character of Maleficent.
  • Dumbo (2019): Directed by Tim Burton, this live-action adaptation expands on Disney’s animated classic about a young elephant with oversized ears.
  • Mulan (2020): Directed by Niki Caro, this live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated film features Liu Yifei as Mulan.
  • Cruella (2021): Directed by Craig Gillespie, this film explores the backstory of the iconic Disney villain Cruella de Vil, starring Emma Stone.
  • The Little Mermaid (2023): Directed by Rob Marshall, the film stars Halle Bailey cast as Ariel.

Originally, the live action craze started well. For example, The Lion King made a whopping $1.663 billion, which trails behind Disney’s most profitable live action franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean, however, those films are originals and not remakes. Beauty and the Beast made $1.263 billion, and Aladdin made $1.051 billion.

Ariel (Halle Bailey) resting on jellyfish and talking to Sebastian
Credit: Disney

After seeing this early success, it became understandable as to why Disney continued on this trend. It was working.

The most recent live action to debut was The Little Mermaid, which had mixed reviews.

Before its release, the film faced significant backlash over Disney’s decision to cast Halle Bailey, a Black actress, as Ariel. The choice surprised many, given Disney’s animated portrayal of Ariel, consistent across Disney World, Disneyland, and all global Disney parks.

Ultimately, the movie earned a worldwide gross of $569.6 million, a respectable figure but notably lower than the $1.7 billion achieved by Disney’s live-action Lion King in 2019 and the $1 billion from Aladdin in the same year.

Disney has made it clear that they are looking to move in a more diverse direction with casting which has sparked a debate. While some love to see Disney alter the look of its original characters, others are wondering why new and original stories are not being created instead with characters of color in leading roles. It does seem that Disney has listened to those suggestions as well, as Wish, Disney’s latest animation, features Asha, who is Afro-Hispanic.

Disney’s upcoming live action film, Snow White, may have stirred the pot more than any other film they have created.

Rachel Zegler was cast as the leading role in the film, which some found issue with due to her Latin heritage. Zegler’s skin tone is not as fair as Snow White’s in the animation, and many were upset that Disney changed the skin color of a live action princess twice, back to back.

Evil Queen as an Old Crone giving Snow White the poisoned apple
Credit: Disney

Rachel Zegler’s perspective on the original narrative of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) has provoked criticism. The 1937 film, marking Walt Disney’s entrance into feature films, has retained its status as a cherished classic. The excitement among fans was palpable when Disney announced plans for a live-action rendition of its inaugural princess.

The initial dissent regarding the casting choice intensified as Rachel Zegler elaborated on the upcoming film in various interviews. She suggested that the new adaptation would deviate significantly from the 1937 version, created by Walt Disney himself, characterizing it as “strange.”

Moreover, Zegler hinted at potential revisions or the elimination of Andrew Burnap’s role as Jonathan, a notion likely false as he leads the seven bandits—a new group of characters.

Zegler clarified, “I just mean that it’s no longer 1937. We’ve created a Snow White where she won’t rely on a prince for salvation, and she won’t be yearning for true love. Instead, she aspires to become the leader her late father believed she could be if she embodied qualities like fearlessness, fairness, bravery, and truth.”

Rachel Zegler pretending to be Snow White in front of a poster of the classic animated princess
Credit: Rachel Zegler via Twitter

When this video gained traction on social media, it sparked widespread attention. Many were disheartened by Disney’s apparent departure from the concept of female characters seeking their one true love, as portrayed in Zegler’s depiction of Snow White. The desire for a “happily ever after” seemed to be depicted negatively as “un-feminist” or weak.

snow-white-seven-dwarfs-dancing
Credit: Disney

While Zegler lost her role in Paddington 3 due to the now-concluded strike that affected her schedule, speculations arose regarding the potential loss of another role with Snow White. Despite rumors, Disney’s new graphic from the live-action film solidifies Zegler’s position as the titular character.

Now that the strike is over, Zegler is speaking much more freely on the film. In a recent interview, she stated, “We’ve been working so tirelessly in London to make this beautiful movie! […] and I’m just so excited for everyone to see it!!” From this, we can see that the film is still a go, and even with its major one year delay recently announced by Disney, the cast, including Zegler, is very excited to see it come to life.

The cast stars:

  • Rachel Zegler as Snow White
  • Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen
  • Ansu Kabia as the Huntsman
  • Andrew Burnap as Jonathan
  • Martin Klebba as Grumpy
  • Colin Michael Carmichael and Dujonna Gift as dwarves

Are you looking forward to seeing Snow White in theaters in 2025? 

 

 

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